Autism Diagnosis


Whether you're a child or an adult, the diagnostic process can be complicated, and so are the emotions and issues that can arise during it. Pursuing and receiving a diagnosis of ASC can be very positive for some individuals, even empowering.

Unlike other pages the navigation below links to other pages in the Diagnosis section.

It can also not be the right choice for everyone, and that is ok too. Our experience has shown us that the reason behind the decision to get a diagnosis is different from person to person. We have tried to outline the various ways and reasons that show how a diagnosis can help support your situation.

Where to Start

In Northamptonshire, the diagnostic pathway for adults and children is similar. Still, there are differences for certain ages and areas of the county. The autism pathways in Northamptonshire are currently under review to make the process smoother for everyone. Will we update this page to reflect local changes.

Referrals for Children

As is the case with all diagnostic pathways, recognition of the condition is usually the first step on this journey. As parents, we are all different; some may seek out support at the early signs of an issue, others may prefer to give it time and hope that the presentation is 'just a phase'. Neither approach is wrong, the key message we want to provide you as parents, is to follow your gut instinct and know that you are the expert in your child.

Initially, you may wonder if it is a phase. Still, if you have persistent concerns and your child is exhibiting a variety of traits. It is worth being proactive and contacting the GP for a referral for a full assessment. The referral route differs slightly depending on your child's age. If your child is preschool age (0-4). In that case your health visitor will be able to complete a referral to the Community Paediatrician Team. If your child is school age, then you would go for a referral via your GP.

Waiting lists in this county are very long, if you are desperate for answers seeking a private diagnosis may be best. We have a section on private diagnosis that can give you more information.

Self - Assessment

If you are interested in investigating a diagnosis but do not want to go down either pathway of the NHS or private, then you can self assess. We have included some resources below that can help you along this pathway. We want to state now that you cannot use your results from these resources as official evidence for benefits or use of support services.

This is not an official diagnosis. It is more of a piece of mind exercise for yourself. It may invoke further investigation, or it may be enough for you to make your mind up. However, if you need support, then we would recommend an official diagnosis.

Referrals for Adults

Once you have made your decision to seek an assessment for diagnosis and use the NHS pathway, the first step is booking to see your GP. Prepare yourself with the reasons you think you are (what traits you have), and why you want a diagnosis.

  • To have a better understanding of myself
  • To understand why I have never really understood the world I inhabit
  • To access better support
  • To be able to ask for reasonable adjustments so I can cope and access services and organisations better

We suggest preparing yourself with the reasons why you would like to investigate a diagnosis of autism. Listing what traits you or other people perceive you have is a good way of doing this. Following the GP visit, a referral is made to the ADHD and Asperger's Team.

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